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RIP Prince: Dearly beloved, we are gathered…

April 23, 2016


Four hundred years ago, at the age of 52, William Shakespeare, the Bard of Avon, died on the same day that he was born: April 23.


Two days ago, on April 21, 2016, at the age of 57, Prince Rogers Nelson died; he was born June 7, 1958.

Both were masters of the written word. But more importantly, both showed the world a way of being in the world.

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They both showed us and told us that we, with all our flaws and beauty, our idiosyncrasies and our fears, that we were and are dearly beloved; they showed us and told us that we were to gather together and by gathering together, we will get through this thing called life.

Today I want to honor both. Because both have been very important in shaping the person I am today by giving a voice and a presence to the young person I was. But I am really going to focus on Prince. His death is a raw wound.

Below is his 2014 performance on SNL:

Ron Wells writes that “Prince was the melding of Jimi Hendrix and James Brown. His live performances were spellbinding. I saw him many times live, and when he hit a groove, the audience just gave themselves over to him. His guitar playing was other worldly, and he danced and moved as if the music controlled his very being. He received screams and applause as if he expected it, as if he knew this was where he supposed to be and this was what was expected of him. He gave just the hint of a smile and then whirled away in the blink of an eye.”

Ron continues that, “The songs and his spirit vibrated with a combination of unadulterated sexuality and a profound spirituality that seemed at odds with each other, but which fit his music perfectly. He was like so many rock and roll stars before him, a contradiction that found its voice in his singing and guitar playing. Many saw him as nothing but arrogant. Many proclaimed him a genius. Whatever one thought of him, he was always true to what he believed himself to be. A complex soul bathed in shades of purple, he will long be remembered as a spirit who’s time here on earth was cut far too short. To a man with a passionate spirit who saw both beauty and blessings in music, Rest in Peace, Prince.”


Ron is fortunate that he saw Prince in action, not once, but many times. Perhaps that’s partly why, In 2011 when Prince played 21 shows at the Forum, my husband, knowing that I was a deep but somewhat closeted Prince fan, offered to take me to one of the shows for Mother’s Day. Unfortunately, it just seemed too complicated with a young child and too much going on, and we didn’t make it. I assured myself there would be another time.

Life is short. There was not another time.

“Little Red Corvette” for Pineapple. Last summer, right after her dad died, we roared in his red corvette over Highway 17 in the Santa Cruz mountains. We are going to do some serious drinking and dancing in the doublewide and celebrate Prince soon!


Ron chose these quotes from Prince:

“Ever day I feel is a blessing from God. And I consider it a new beginning. Yeah, everything is beautiful.”

“What’s missing from pop music is danger.”

“The Bible is a study guide for social interaction.”

“The key to longevity is to learn every aspect of music that you can.”

“A strong spirit transcends rules.”

“Time is a mind construct. It’s not real.”


Inspired to get your own word on?

WordFest Ojai April 29-May 1.

Get your poetry fix on in Ventura:

Wednesday, April, 27 – Spocabulary

EP Foster Library in the Topping Room
651 E. Main Street – Ventura
host Aaron Gardner
6:30 – Workshop * 7:30 – Open Mic
(it’s about performance and poetry)

Aaron Gardner reads his poem, 148

Poetry with open mic every Thursday at 7:30pm:

April 28 Trista Hurley
May 5 Gwendolyn Alley (yes that’s me! my students will be reading too!)
May 12 Patti & Kevin Patrick Sullivan
May 19 Sam Harley
May 26 Missy Fuego
June 2 Cindy Rine
June 9 Holaday Mason
June 16 Laurel Ann Bogen

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